The world is changing and automakers such as Fiat Chrysler need to adapt appropriately in order to survive. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is all too aware of this. On June 1, the soon to retire Marchionne will unveil a major overall plan that’s expected to include some big changes, one of which is the abandoning of manufacturing of the Fiat Punto and Mito in Italy. It’s important to note that FCA is not ending its Italian manufacturing operations entirely, only that of its Fiat brand.
According to Bloomberg, a historic plant in Turin and a second one not far from Naples will be retooled to build Jeeps and Maseratis. Fiat Panda production will likely move from Italy to Poland. Other Fiat branded vehicles, including the 500 and Mobi, are built outside of Italy, Poland and Mexico, and Brazil, respectively. If Marchionne’s production plan is as predicted, this would mean the end of an era for Italy and Fiat. Imagine, for a moment, General Motors or Ford ending all American production entirely. It’s that big of a deal. Bloomberg adds that a final decision regarding Fiat’s Italian manufacturing operations still isn’t final a week and a half before Marchionne’s planned announcement.
Point being, things could still change and the Italian government and local labor unions are surely working overtime right now to come up with a solution to save a legacy. Current Fiat line workers could retain their jobs by building Jeeps and Maseratis instead. However, union officials are concerned at FCA’s relatively slow pace of adding new vehicles to the market. How long will the retooling of those two Italian production plants take? Next month there’s already a planned three-day temporary layoff because of decreased demand for those Fiat models. A total of 6,000 Italian workers will be affected. These are all questions Marchionne will hopefully answer next week.